By Jean Salyer with introduction by Michael Broad
Jean Salyer, of Tiger’s Justice Team, has filled complaints to the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (“the Board”) and is ‘in the loop’ with what is going on. Having received a complaint, if the Board decides a violation may have occurred (and the matter needs to be investigated further) it convenes a conference. This will be an informal discussion somewhat like a hearing at which the complaints can be discussed.
“There have been around 680 complaints filed and only those who filed early are permitted to attend” (Jean)
In the Lindsey case this conference is scheduled for the 28th of this month (see below). Kristen Lindsey could attend the conference but almost certainly won’t; but her attorney, Brian Bishop, no doubt will. Bishop defended his client in a letter. He will use the same defence again at the conference. In my view, he has got the law wrong and his argument is weak.
A lawyer from the Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a complaint as well. She will be attending the conference. This will clearly help advocates of justice for Tiger. Complainants have to address their questions to the board.
Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) Informal Conference Scheduled for Kristen Lindsey
Many of us who have been following the case of veterinarian Kristen Lindsey are cautiously awaiting the upcoming vet board conference which may or may not decide her fate as a vet. To a caring person, the case seems so obvious, so blatant, so cut-and-dried, that we wonder why her license wasn’t yanked out from under her the first day her hideous photo appeared on social media. In this, the 21st century, we saw just how thin the veneer of civilization really is, at least as applied to the likes of Kristen Lindsey. How does one explain how a person can spend 4 years in veterinary school learning to dedicate her life to the care and protection of animals, and then mercilessly kill a neighbor’s cat for the “glory” of boasting on Facebook? We will never know the answer.
If compassion for animals carried the day, then I would not be writing this. If justice and fairness carried the day, then I would not be writing this. Many of Tiger supporters wavered on whether or not criminal charges would be filed against Lindsey. One minute I was hopeful that DA Travis Koehn would do the job he is paid to do. The next minute I was convinced he would sweep this case under the rug. It would be charitable of me to call his investigation feeble. Why he did such a sloppy job is another one of those questions that may never be answered.
Let’s hope the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners does better: that they act decisively and use their authority to rid the state of Texas of a veterinarian who is unworthy of the title DVM. Because of the gargantuan failure to prosecute Lindsey despite clear evidence of the crime, I hesitate to predict the outcome of the vet board conference. Corruption, payoffs, bribery and special treatment have become a way of life. Still there are people with high standards of integrity and courage. I hope the latter group serves on the Texas vet board.
Of the 6 veterinarians who serve on the board, 5 of them are members of the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). It is not known if the 6th board member belongs to the AVMA. The AVMA issued strong statements condemning the killing by a “Texas veterinarian.” They repudiated the statement by DA Travis Koehn who mistakenly led people to believe that a bow and arrow killing qualified as an act of humane euthanasia.
I and other members of Tiger’s Justice Team spent many hours scrutinizing the rules of the TBVME and Texas Occupations Code. My belief is that the rules are generally sound, comprehensive and fair. Enforcement of those rules is another matter, and remains to be seen. I don’t think anyone on the board could have predicted a Kristen Lindsey headed their way. It is not possible to make a rule governing every conceivable act. I think the rules were made to guide decent veterinarians and were not written with psychopaths in mind.
The TBVME website has a complete list of regulations and procedures for filing complaints. Please take a look at it if you have the chance: How the Board Handles Complaints
Here is a very brief version of how complaints are handled:
1. A written complaint is sent to the board on their official form.
2. An investigator is assigned, and a report is written upon completion of the investigation.
3. Veterinarian board members review the report and make recommendations.
4. If a violation may have occurred the complainants and respondent (the accused vet) are notified.
5. An informal conference is scheduled. Note: this is the stage of the Kristen Lindsey case. An informal conference will be held August 28, 2015. At this conference, several members of the vet board are present. The respondent (Kristen Lindsey) may be present, but it is not mandatory. Her attorney may be present also. Complainants are allowed to attend. In this case there are restrictions because at last count there were 680 complaints filed and only the early filers are invited. Members of the public are not allowed at the conference. A decision is normally made at the time of the informal conference. There are other steps that can be taken if the desired outcome is not achieved by either party. Further information can be found on the TBVME website. This was only a brief and very general explanation.
Please do not despair if the board determines that Lindsey did not violate their rules. We have the right to appeal—and we will!
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